It’s official: Cambridge is a safe and vibrant destination for evening and night-time dining, entertainment and culture.
The city has just been awarded the prestigious Purple Flag accreditation for its evening and night-time economy (ENTE). Similar in nature to the Blue Flag for beaches, the award aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town and city centres between the hours of 17:00 and 05:00.
More than 70 towns and cities in the UK and Ireland have achieved Purple Flag status to date, by demonstrating that they provide a vibrant and diverse mix of dining, entertainment and cultural activities while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and local residents.
“Five themes were assessed as part of a rigorous application process that covered everything from the diversity of brands on offer to patterns of movement within the city centre at night and the extent to which the streets felt active and animated,” commented Helen Hames, Projects and Marketing Manager at Cambridge BID, who coordinated the awards entry in collaboration with Cambridge Business Against Crime (CAMBAC) and a broad working group that included Cambridge City Council, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and business representatives.
“We are particularly delighted to announce that the city exceeded or met all 31 judging criteria, without any notes for improvement. We understand that this is a rare achievement, one that may explain why the city has also been nominated as a finalist in the ‘Place’ category of the Association of Town and City Management summer 2020 awards.”
During the Purple Flag judging process, the city was deemed to be ‘outstanding’ in its partnership approach to managing the night-time economy, with businesses and local agencies showing a concerted drive to maintain high standards.
"We are delighted to have achieved Purple Flag status and, in doing so, to demonstrate the outstanding collaborative work carried out by multiple agencies in order to maintain Cambridge as a safe and vibrant city,” commented Adam Ratcliffe. Manager of CAMBAC. “Key partners across the city work very closely together to manage the night-time economy, ensuring the business community can thrive and the public feel safe."
As a result of this team approach, the city was recognised as having ‘above standard’ levels of presentation – for example, venues were seen to take care of their immediate areas in order to ensure a positive experience for their customers. The ‘great balance’ of food and drink offers, at a variety of price points and from local and national brands, was highlighted as was the effective management of late-night venues.
Also praised were the ‘above standard’ levels of safety - including a proportionate level of visible, effective policing and active surveillance.
“I am delighted that Cambridge has been recognised as a safe and vibrant destination,” commented Superintendent Jon Hutchinson of the Cambridgeshire Constabulary. “We have worked hard to provide a visible presence to our communities that aims to protect those who live, work in or visit the City Centre. We believe that the collective efforts of all agencies have made Cambridge one of the safest City Centres in the region. Here, a diverse range of people are able to utilise the space and facilities in harmony.”
Public transport received an ‘above standard’ rating too, with taxis, buses and trains offering a range of options to help people return home safely. Pedestrian routes were also well-lit and signposted.
“Purple Flag status is assessed on an annual basis. We’re thrilled to have been successful in securing this accreditation for the first time, and we will continue to make improvements that ensure we can maintain this status over the years ahead,” added Helen Hames.
The Purple Flag programme is managed by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM), working alongside a partnership of key stakeholder groups backed by Government, police and businesses.